34 hours ago - 2 Likes
We need a player quota now -
Ian Millward, the Wigan Warriors coach, believes he knows how to improve Great Britain's chances of international success. The forthright Australian is advocating a reduction in the number of overseas players in Super League - more than 120 next year - to three per club who are not eligible to represent Britain.
Millward's opinion will be shared by many frustrated British supporters who have been unable to savour an Ashes triumph since 1970.
Even an appearance in the Gillette Tri-Nations final, on home soil, looks unlikely this season, with Britain needing convincing victories over New Zealand at Huddersfield on Saturday and Australia a week later to qualify for the Elland Road showpiece on Nov 26.
The official import limit is already three but that can be increased by using various loopholes. Bradford Bulls, led by Great Britain coach Brian Noble, will have 10 foreign players on their register next year. Wigan will have eight, but Millward argued: "Great Britain can not generate half-backs who are good enough to compete at Test level.
"There should be a maximum of three overseas players at each club and that way you can bring youngsters through. Last season there were only five clubs with British half-backs.
"At junior level and club level the British game is very strong but at international level the pool of talent isn't big enough."
Wigan, before Millward's arrival, released promising British scrum-half Luke Robinson to Salford to make room for Australian Dennis Moran 12 months ago.
Millward added: "The chairmen need to reach a gentlemen's agreement and, over a three-year period, introduce a limit of three imports."
Although Millward is happy with the ?1.8 million salary cap limit per club, he is not in favour of the 20-20 rule which imposes a limit of 20 players who can earn more than ?20,000 a year. He believes that stifles the progress of young players.
Iestyn Harris, the Bradford stand-off, has recovered from the shoulder injury sustained in Saturday's 20-6 defeat by Australia.
Great Britain and New Zealand have delayed selection, with both likely to make changes for different reasons.
Noble is expected to make alterations to find a winning formula and the Kiwis must find a replacement for scrum-half Stacey Jones, with Lance Hohaia unable to fill the vacancy due to an ankle injury.
New Zealand seem reluctant to call up Huddersfield's Robbie Paul despite his lively performance as a substitute in Sunday's victory over England at Warrington. Hull's Motu Tony is favourite for the role.
Brian McClennan, the New Zealand coach, said: "We're toying with a few options at training. We'll see what works, and hopefully we can get by."
More info: www.tri-nations.com.au Discussion: Tri-Nations Forum at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/forumdisplay.php?f=130